The Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts kicks off its 35th Anniversary class this summer with a class doubled in size from previous years thanks to supplemental funding from the Kentucky Department of Education. Growing from 256 students to
more than 500 students, the tuition-free program will take place over two consecutive three-week sessions (Session 1: June 12 – July 2; Session 2: July 10 – July 30) with students divided into each. Both sessions will take place at The
University of Kentucky this summer.
"Education continues to be the key to ensuring the future of Kentucky remains bright. Investing this supplemental funding into GSA is a positive step towards ensuring that education and cultural opportunities reach students in every community throughout the commonwealth,” Gov. Beshear said. “I encourage more students to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to develop diverse, lifelong friendships and explore your artistic talents through education and the arts.”
“This is a transformational moment for GSA, but also for the entire state,
” said Nick Covault, Executive Director of GSA, and GSA Alumnus (Class of 2002, Vocal Music). “This increased investment not only means more of Kentucky’s creative youth will be empowered, validated and affirmed as artists, it also means the Commonwealth will benefit even more from the powerful skillset of our next generation of creative leaders: artist-citizens who bring innovation, connection, joy and healing to various sectors of our communities.
GSA was approved for $2,850,000 from the American Recovery Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Summer Enrichment funds (Office of Teaching and Learning) to be awarded over a three-year period. Federal ESSER funding was provided to state education agencies as part of the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act). The $2,850,000 ESSER grant covers 43% of the expanded GSA program, with an additional 32% ($2,121,746) financed by private sources, and the remaining from the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Kentucky Performing Arts and program administrators are working to secure additional funding, including fundraising, to allow for the program to accommodate 500 students after the three-year grant term ends.
“We are proud to partner on this effort to expand GSA to encompass additional students,” Commissioner of Education Jason E. Glass said. “This program is a powerful and life-changing learning experience for Kentucky youth. I am excited that a greater number of our creative and artistic students will benefit from the GSA experience.”
GSA brings student artists from all regions of the state together on a Kentucky college campus for an immersive program of daily seminars, creative projects, master classes and lectures. Instruction is offered in nine disciplines: architecture and design, creative writing, dance, drama, film and photography, instrumental music, musical theater, visual art, and vocal music. Students, educators, and administrators have often noted the peer support learning element of the program, with attendees connecting with like-minded peers and often leaving with new lifelong friends. Visiting guest artists include Martha Redbone, the Affriliachian Poets, Flamenco Louisville, Mutual Dance Theatre, Harry Pickens, and a variety of other artists from various fields/mediums. They will entertain as well as interact with students.
Alumni of the program are eligible for scholarships at nearly 30 colleges and universities. 93% of the GSA 2021 class said they felt more prepared to attend college because of their GSA experience, while 75% said they felt GSA helped make college a more accessible option for them.
To learn more about the program, including ways you can support GSA’s mission, visit kentuckygsa.org.